out, out brief candle

Lately I've been haunted by this feeling I've done something wrong. I couldn't put my finger on it--at first I didn't even understand it. I was upset. Not angry or irritable, but I felt as if the world was wrong, as if my life were going the wrong direction and I caught a glimpse of it. Smiles I once thought were friendly seemed mocking now--were they laughing at me? Had I got it wrong all this time?

That feeling came from somewhere, I knew. I knew I'd done something that led to this. But where? And did I do it recently or did I only just now start to feel it? What caused this feeling of dislocation?

I couldn't figure it out. I couldn't figure out why nothing made sense anymore--why even my own smile felt forced, uncertain, forbidden. Then the dread took me. I had been wrong about everything. I'd blinded myself, ever since--yes, that was it. In the end, all of my problems went back, some two years prior, when I made the mistake--not the biggest of my life, but the keystone, the mistake that laid the foundation for a hundred others.

The worst of it was, I couldn't stop myself. I had developed such incredible inertia, that though I knew what was happening I had no control over it, as if it were written in the stars--but I was the one who etched it in there, long ago, not understanding the significance of my words, like some mad oracle who spoke cryptic words that only made sense once the event had come to pass.

I curse the black and midnight hags that ever hailed me king--and damned be him that first cries "Hold, enough!"

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